Get ready to pick some juicy, ripe strawberries. National Pick Strawberries Day is May 20, and it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy some fresh air, sunshine and delicious fruit.
If you’re not blessed with space for a garden, or a green thumb, you can always visit farms where they let you pick produce — not just strawberries, but lots of fruits and veggies.
There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of harvesting your own produce straight from the source, for several reasons.
• It’s affordable. U-pick farms offer an affordable way to get high-quality, fresh produce. By picking your own fruits and vegetables, you are eliminating the cost of labor and transportation, which makes the produce more affordable than buying it at a store. Many farmers markets participate in the Double Up Food Bucks program, which matches the value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits when used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at participating retailers, effectively doubling the purchasing power of the SNAP benefits up to $10.
• It’s better quality. U-pick farms provide high-quality produce that is fresher than what you would find in a grocery store. You can pick your produce at the peak of ripeness, which means it will be more flavorful and nutritious.
• It’s a fun family activity. Picking fruit and veggies is a great way to spend time and make lasting memories with your family and friends. Children love to pick their own produce and learn about where their food comes from. It’s also a great way to teach young people about healthy eating habits and the importance of supporting local farmers.
• You can support sustainability. U-pick farms promote sustainability by reducing the carbon footprint of transportation and storage. By supporting local farmers, you are also supporting the local economy and helping to reduce food waste.
Not sure where to go? Here are several national directories that can help you find u-pick farms in the United States, as well as information on what’s in season, recipes and canning and freezing tips:
• PickYourOwn.org: This website provides a directory of u-pick farms across the United States.
• LocalHarvest.org: This website allows you to search for u-pick farms in your area by ZIP code, state or product.
• U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmers Market Directory — https://tinyurl.com/2jbtkhvd: This directory lists farmers markets, roadside stands and u-pick farms across the United States. You can search by state, city or ZIP code.
Now, what to do with your bounty of ripe, delicious strawberries? Here’s an idea! As much as everyone loves fresh fruit, especially strawberries, you can make the occasion extra special with a festive dessert dip, and this one’s stellar.
With only two ingredients and less than five minutes to prepare, I hope you keep this recipe handy to enjoy all summer long.
Overall, u-pick fruit and vegetable farms are a great way to enjoy fresh, affordable produce while having fun with family and friends.
So, grab a basket, head out to your local farm and join in the fun on National Pick Strawberries Day.
Fluffy Fruit Dip
Serving: 2 cups
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (7 ounce) tub marshmallow cream
Warm cream cheese to room temperature. In a mixing bowl, with handheld mixer, beat cream cheese until loose and light. Add the tub of marshmallow cream and mix until thoroughly blended. Refrigerate until chilled. At this point, the dip is firm enough to pipe like frosting if you’d like to get all fancy pants. Serve with your favorite fruits or eat directly from a spoon when no one is watching